Scientific research continues to find convincing support for the benefits of gratitude to health. In a recent brain fMRI imaging study, Prathik Kini and his team from Indiana University recruited 43 subjects suffering from anxiety or depression. They found that months after a simple, short gratitude writing task, brains scans suggest that people were more attuned to feeling thankful. The research report more technically puts it: “there was neural modulation by gratitude in the medial pre-frontal cortex three months later”.
So there is a self-perpetuating nature to gratitude, the more you practice gratitude, the more easily you will feel it.
The warm up
Practising gratitude starts a healthy, positive cycle in your brain – counting your blessings now makes it easier to notice them later. The more good you see in your life, the happier and more successful you’re likely to be.
Try this one at home – three things to be grateful for
One of the simplest and most effective gratitude techniques was originally called the Three Blessings. It’s a simple practice, that can make a marked difference to feelings of happiness.
Before bed each night either write, text, think or say out loud three “thanks”, for things that have happened during the day.
It does not matter whether silly or profound: the sun shone, I finished my project, I watched a great movie, went to bed healthy and not hungry, completed my run or learnt a new gratitude technique! Shawn Achor, Harvard researcher and author says “writing down three things you’re grateful for, every day for 21 days in a row significantly increases your level of optimism, and it holds for the next six months. The research is amazing,” .
Being grateful can profoundly help improve your mental wellbeing, it’s free, quick, simple and effective.
Read how to be even more expansively grateful here.